Resources >

The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot

About the collection

'The Ladder'. Varnished salt print from a calotype negative, April 1844

William Henry Fox Talbot is best known as the scientist and artist whose role was critical to the invention of the art of photography.

Talbot's correspondents were a diverse lot. Counted amongst his closest scientific associates were Sir John Herschel, an astronomer and ingenious inventor of photography, and Sir David Brewster, the controversial and highly influential Scottish physicist and scientific journalist. Thomas Moore, the wildly popular Irish poet, was a neighbour and close family friend who provided a different perspective on the new art of photography. Talbot's correspondents also included politicians and reformers; important figures in the establishment of the American photographic industry; those who worked closely with him; and his family.

The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot comprises all the known letters to and from Talbot (1800-1877). Some 10,000 letters are available as fully searchable transcripts. Whilst further editing and annotation of the transcripts has continued since September 2003.

The conception and editorial foundations of the project took place at the University of Glasgow between 1999 and 2004 under the direction of Professor L J Schaaf. A 1999 British Academy grant started the project and built the foundation for a subsequent three-year AHRC Resource Enhancement project. A further British Academy Grant in 2005-2006 enabled the database to be transferred to De Montfort University, Leicester and expanded via a new remote editing interface. Additional development and hosting is now undertaken by Knowledge Media Design, De Montfort University.

Access the collection >>

Related Collections and Resources

Copyright and Contact Details

The images and text presented in this website are copyright of the Project unless otherwise stated. They may be used for private research and study purposes only. Enquiries regarding reproduction should be sent to

The project team would be interested to hear from anyone with knowledge of any letters to or from Talbot or any leads on letters, such as copybooks or auction records. Please email: The anonymity of private collections can be assured. For confidential matters please contact the Project Director directly, either by post or telephone (details below) or to his personal email address (

Contact Details

Portrait of William Henry Fox Talbot by Antoine Claudet, 1840s
Address Dr Larry J Schaaf
Project Director
The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot
Rock House
616 Reservoir Street
Maryland 21217-4823
Tel: (410)523-8889
Fax (410)383-9866

Image Credits

The reproductions of Talbot images and documents displayed within this site have been very generously supplied by Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc. For further information, please contact them at The " Schaaf " numbers refer to the Catalogue Raisonné of Talbot & his circle . Where the location of the original negatives is indicated, FTM is the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock; NMPFT is the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford; and RPS is the Royal Photographic Society, Bath. The "Document" numbers are the identifying numbers employed in the Talbot Correspondence Project.



about        contact        terms of use        image credits        cookies        © 2018